We woke up bright and early the next morning. We knew we had a long drive ahead to get to Bourgogne. While we were having our breakfast, we got to chatting with Stephen. By now, I had fallen in love with the French way of living, and fancied buying a summer house we could come to for holidays. (I still want to someday). He told us how he ended up buying the château, and the work that had been put into the place. He also showed us the caves that were underneath the château, which were really interesting.
When we finally bid Stephen goodbye, it was close to late morning. Our first stop was Château de Cheverny. This château has been in the Huraults family for over six centuries and still remains in the family’s posession. in 1914, the château was one of the first châteaux to be opened to the public. It remains popular with tourists today, renowned for its beautiful interiors and impressive collection of furniture, tapestries and objets d’art. The château is also home to a huge pack of French hounds.
Being one of the smaller châteaux, we were able to fit our sightseeing into an hour. The interior of the château is magnificent because it still has its 17th century decoration and furniture. It is amazing that this privately owned chateau has been able to preserve so much of its furnishings. Again photography inside the château was restricted to without flash. It was quite dark inside the château and none of our shots turned out well, really, so I have decided not to post them. The interior of the château is really something though, and well worth the visit, even though I don’t have the photos to do it justice.
I would have loved to have been able to see the feeding of the hounds who call the château home, but we were pressed for time and had to move on.
Moving on to Château de Chambord, we had to drive through a good deal of forest landscape before we finally got to the château. This is because this château is a royal château, built by King Francois I, as a hunting lodge, and therefore surrounded by the forests which served as his hunting ground. The château is the largest château in the Loire. Due to our time constraints, we decided not to tour the interior of the château. Even so, we spent an hour wandering around, admiring the enormous Renaissance architecture that is the château. We eventually left around lunchtime. It was a 4 hour drive to Autun, where we would continue our journey in Bourgogne.
Along the way, we stopped at a local supermarket to buy supplies for the typical French lunch – ham, cheese and bread. The lady at the checkout was very friendly. Obviously noting that we were tourists, she attempted to make friendly conversation with us. Unfortunately, the extent of my mastery of the language only went as far as to tell her that we were visiting the chateaux in the Loire and were now on our way to Burgundy. The guy standing behind me at the checkout must have thought my attempt on the language was rather funny and couldn’t resist a smile. I hope it was an encouraging smile.
Thanks to our dodgy GPS, it was almost 9pm when we finally made our way to Moulin Renaudiots in Autun. All the other guests were seated on the terrace outside having their dinner when we arrived. Our hosts Jan and Peter were quick to show us to our room. Our home for the next days was the St. Andoche room. We were so tired when we got there that we only had enough energy for a quick shower before collapsing into bed. Poor Jan probably wondered why we didn’t take him up on his offer of a couple of glasses of wine.